Unions anger at ‘short sighted’ budget proposals from Councillors

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UNIONS REPRESENTING STAFF at Moray Council have expressed their disappointment at the Budget proposals currently out for public consultation.

The Conservative and Independent Administration released their proposals earlier this week aimed at saving almost £7million over the next year.

Included are proposals to seek efficiency savings from their own staff – service provision and job cuts that the joint trade unions have said are “deeply concerning”.

In a statement released last night they said: “The joint trade unions are disappointed by the proposals approved by Moray Council at its Committee meeting on 4th December 2017 which recommend cuts to service provision and jobs.

“The proposals put forward outline a programme of cuts to services across a swathe of Council provision – yet do not appear to offer any significant proposals for advancing and ensuring the future financial viability of the Council, a situation which is deeply concerning for all Council employees and residents of Moray.”

While acknowledging the financial situation facing Moray Council is one of extreme difficulty, the unions insist that cuts to jobs and services will not address that – saying that it will just increase pressure on the remaining services and staff as well as on other agencies.

The statement continued: “Investment in public services, and the staff employed in the sector, is the best way of ensuring that the services we all use are delivered appropriately, efficiently, and to a high standard as well as providing economic benefits to the local area.

“The proposals put forward are short-sighted, lack coherence and worryingly, leave grave concerns about how the Council is to fulfil its statutory requirements in some service areas – Additional Support Needs for Children being only one example. They come from a ruling administration with an absence of vision.

“The process raises questions about how meaningful a consultation exercise this is – a consultation implies choices to be made whereas what is presented appears to be a statement of where £7m of cuts will fall.

“Whilst on paper, the cuts may bring the financial savings the administration wish to see in 2018-19, they will undoubtedly, in many cases, prove more costly to the Council, as the withdrawal of preventative services results in people accessing higher level, and more costly services, at a later stage. The proposals also do not provide any resolution to the Council’s future funding pressures.”

The Unions say that the will now be speaking to their members and believe that there are “many positive ideas that the Council could take forward” to increase revenue.

The statement concludes: “However, these require the Council to be proactive and forward-thinking rather than the narrow approach they currently seem to have which is to keep cutting in the short-term, without consideration of how they will ensure the financial viability in the longer-term and ultimately the security of our members jobs.”